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Patents That Make You Scratch Your Head

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I enjoy reading about ideas that successfully get through the patent office that go nowhere and it's pretty clear why they didn't. Still, you have the admire the persistence of the person who guided their idea through the patent process (not easy at all). 

I have trolled the web thanks to the wonder of Google and present a few of the patents I found the most interesting.  Please include any in the comments section that you may have tripped across in your own travels.

Text in italics is from the patent filing  paperwork.

Interactive Life-Sized Bowl of Soup (US 6168531)
I believe this was intended to be a carnival ride/attraction of sorts.
The large bowl includes, "a fog layer at the top of the bowl-shaped member; and an imaging device producing an image," according to the 1999 patent. The soup attraction is designed to fill small children with excitement and delight as they inch near a seemingly full pot of boiling water.

Wind-Harnessing Bike (US 6932368)
I could almost see how this might lead to something that might actual be useful.
"no one prior to applicant has succeeded to devising apparatus including a sail attachment connectable to a bicycle for harnessing wind to drive a bicycle forward in a controlled manner."

Kissing Shield (US5727565)
Well, I suppose it could happen but it's not very romantic.
Enter the kissing shield, which if handled properly, "will help people who want to do whatever they can while kissing to practice 'preventive medicine."

High-Five Machine (US 5356330)
A solution in search of a problem.
"allows a user to simulate a 'high-five' in celebration of a positive event, thereby providing the user with a convenient outlet for the release of excitement."

 Motorized ice cream cone (US05971829)
Another solution in search of a problem.
"...for imparting rotation upon the cup and rotationally feeding its contents against a person's outstretched tongue."

Combined earthquake sensor and nightlight (US04978948)
I could see how having both could be handy in an earthquake - if you have power.
"having a base with a bottom portion resting on a support subject to vibrations."

EXERCISING DEVICE Patent No. 1,466,559
This one is from 1923 so maybe you just had to be there.
From the foregoing it is apparent that the present invention provides means by which the teeth, gums and other organs of the mouth are subjected to sufficient exercise to set up a free circulation therein and maintain a healthy state thereof.

Basically an iPod for the fetus.  But hey, maybe they get bored in there and some tunes would be nice.A fetal speaker system and support belt of the present invention includes a belt-like housing, a pair of low-volume speakers mounted spaced apart, and a casing with a resilient padding material therein. The belt fastens about the abdomen and adjusts accordingly to the growing belly. A radio or other audio transmitting device is maintained in position by a sturdy sleeve on the side of the belt...

A fart collecting device: UK Patent Application No. GB2289222
Why leave the folks from the other side of the pond out?
It comprises a gas-tight collecting tube 10 for insertion into the rectum of the subject. The tube 10 is connected to a gas-tight collecting bag (not shown). The end of the tube inserted into the subject is apertured and covered with a gauze filter and a gas permeable bladder 28.

Perhaps you should get to work on your own idea before someone else beats you to the punch!

erick99 posted Jun 07, 2012

I could see that farting thing at Spencers at the mall :)

Zoey2011 (rep: 30) posted Jun 07, 2012


I remember the Beaver got stuck in a huge soup bowl on a billboard once.

nthsll (rep: 12.5k) posted Jun 07, 2012


A store I worked @ sold a ton of these Hog Wild Ice Cream Cone Spinners. My guess invented by a parent that told youngster to "turn the cone around" and they turned it upside down...Oops!;)

glwrks (rep: 124k) posted Jun 07, 2012


It makes my own ideas not seem so dumb all of a sudden!

munkin2u (rep: 1.3k) posted Jun 09, 2012